Quashing means to abate, overthrow, or to dismiss it or to make it completely void. Generally, quashing of an FIR (first information report) in criminal proceedings means completely stopping the process of the legal proceedings that are in process. This step is usually taken after the FIR has already been filed but before the charge sheet is filed in the court of law. In certain cases, even after the charge sheet has been filed it can be revoked. However, it is generally not encouraged by the Supreme Court of India.
The Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) has laid down specific provisions for quashing of the FIR through section 482 in cases of criminal proceedings or such other cases that are decided upon by the discretionary powers of the court. The quashing of an FIR can also take place in matrimonial matters. The Criminal Procedure Code has also given powers to the high courts and Supreme Court of India with respect to the quashing of FIR in various matters.
Reasons for Quashing an FIR
A full bench comprising of the Hon'ble Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Hon'ble Justice A. M. Khanwilkar and Hon'ble Justice D Y Chandrachud has laid down certain principles from various precedents in relation to Section 482 of the CrPC for quashing of FIRs in the judgment passed in an appeal against a decision of the Gujarat High Court. The case in question was Parbatbhai Aahir & Ors. Vs. State of Gujarat & Another, this is further explained later in the article.
- In cases where allegations are made against the accused and are proved to be false in all aspects.
- If after investigation, the police department finds out that the evidence does not prove that a cognizable offence was committed.
- Whereupon investigation it comes to the notice of the police department that the allegation which was made in the FIR and the evidence that has been brought about does not match with the offences reported, and no case stands against the accused.
- Where the FIR filed is actually relates to a non- cognizable offence, then the investigation shall take place only after the magistrate gives an order for the same.
- The FIR can also be quashed in cases where no prudent man can understand the allegation made against the accused and the allegations cannot also be proved in the court of law.
- Where the FIR is filed and legal proceedings are carried out with the ulterior motive to take revenge from the accused with regards to a personal matter.
- In the cases where FIR is filed, and pieces of evidence are collected to support such FIR, but it doesn’t prove the guilt of the accused.
- Where an FIR do not constitute a cognizable offence, but a non-cognizable offence. In such cases, an FIR can be quashed under Section 155 (2) of the Cr.P.C.
- There are cases when an FIR is filed, but it so absurd that no conclusions can be drawn out. Under such circumstances with a proper procedure, an FIR can be quashed.
- The cases where the only reason to file the FIR is the malafide intention of the filing party.
Matters under which an FIR needs to be quashed can be only decided by the High Court of a state or the Supreme Court of India.
Powers of High Court in Quashing FIR
Below are certain powers of the High Court to deal with these matters:
- Section 482 of the criminal procedure code states that a High Court can act in any manner in order to make the two ends meet.
- The burden of proof lies on the petitioner that the FIR is lodged for malicious reasons and to trouble the petitioner
- According to this section, a High Court can quash the FIR, if the court notices that the particular FIR is filed to defame the person and there no real reasons.
- Writ petitions are filed in the High Court by the accused when he/she is charged with a non-compoundable offence.
- Anand Kumar Mohatta and Anr VS state (Government of Delhi)
Order Dated: 15th November 2018
Summary of the Case: The Supreme Court held that in the case of property-related dispute the offence made was not understood by the court of law, and it could not also be justified whether the property belonged to the appellate or not. In the above case, many other factors were also taken into consideration before quashing the FIR, such as the contract that was carried out between the developer and the buyer. It also included the pending payment of the deposit by the buyer, even if the share of the developed property was yet to be allotted to the buyer.
In this case, the Supreme Court laid down principles regarding the applicability of section 406 of the Indian Penal Code.
Thus, in the above matter, the Supreme Court quashed the FIR which was filed and also the charge sheet, which was considered during the legal proceedings. In this case, the Supreme Court also enshrined that the powers under section 482 of the criminal procedure code can be exercised to prevent the abuse of process and miscarriage of justice. The powers under section 482 can also be exercised when a discharge application before a magistrate court is pending.
- Parbatbhai and Ors. Vs State of Gujrat and Anr
Order Dated: November 25TH 2016
Summary of the Case: In this case, the Gujarat high court had rejected the plea of quashing of the FIR of which an application was submitted by the applicant and wherein a case was registered under section384,467,471,120 (b) and 506(2) of the Indian Penal Code. The opposition regarding the quashing of the FIR was on two grounds. They were as follows:
- The warrants had already been issued against the applicant under section 70 of CrPC.
- The applicants had a prior criminal record and were culprits of crime previously.
Therefore, on these two grounds, the high court rejected the application for quashing of the FIR.
Thus, the Supreme Court has laid down various principles for grounds of rejecting or accepting an application under section 482 of the criminal procedure code for quashing an FIR:
- To secure the powers of the court of law, to try to avoid the misuse of powers, and if someone tries to abuse the due process of law in any way or cheat with the court of law.
- The quashing of the FIR in criminal proceedings or any other matter should purely depend on the facts and circumstances of the case and whether the disputes have been settled with mutual consent or not.
- In cases where the public interest lies, the quashing of the FIR does not always take place, and thus, it should only be done at the discretion of the court.
- Cases which are civil in nature, the criteria for quashing of an FIR is entirely different when compared with criminal cases.
- Criminal cases with the combination of civil cases have higher chances that their application in regards to the quashing of the FIR might get accepted by the court of law. For example, cases related to mercantile law, finance law has the probability that their application is not rejected.
Thus, in this case, the Supreme Court has agreed and upheld the decision of the Gujarat High Court in rejecting the application for quashing the FIR while exercising power vested by the High Court.
- Narendra Singh and Ors. Vs State of Punjab and Anr.
Order Dated: November 8th2013
Summary of the Case: The high court of Punjab and Haryana located at Chandigarh rejected the quashing of the FIR on the basis that the accused had caused injury to the other party which was quite severe and therefore, the High Court also refused to take into consideration the comprises made by mutual consent of both the parties. And, also they will have to face legal proceedings.
However, the Supreme Court stated that the High Court has merely passed the order on the ground of the nature of the injury that has been caused to the victim. It should also be noted that not only the severity of the injury caused but also the facts and circumstances of the case are equally important. The Court has dully gone through the FIR as well as the statement which has been registered by the victim. It has come into the notice that the injury was caused due to the dispute of some previous fight between the parties. The evidences are yet to be produced in the court of law and also that the examination is yet to be conducted by the medical officer. However, the court said that it might be difficult to prove who has caused the injury. Thus, it was held that the chances of a case against the accused are very bleak.
And thus, rejecting the order of the lower court, the Supreme Court of India ordered that the FIR should be quashed with immediate effect and no further appeal shall be allowed.
In view of the above points as laid by the Supreme Court, it has been held that the High Court while exercising its power under Section 482, it is the duty of the court to take into consideration and have due regard to the nature and gravity of the Offence.